Stanford Faces USF in Pete Newell Challenge

July 14, 2004

Oakland, Ca - Defending Pac-10 champion Stanford, North Carolina, expected to be one of the top-ranked teams in the country, and West Coast Conference rivals Santa Clara and San Francisco, comprise the field for the 2004 Pete Newell Challenge Presented by Allstate, set for Friday, Nov. 19, at The Arena in Oakland. The announcement was made today by Jeff Fellenzer, president of Pacific Palisades, Calif.-based Innovative Sports Management and creator of the Pete Newell Challenge.

The match-ups for the eighth-annual doubleheader, which will be played for the first time ever as a season-opening event in November, are as follows: 6 p.m., North Carolina vs. Santa Clara; 8 p.m., Stanford vs. USF. North Carolina, Stanford and USF will be playing their first games that night; Santa Clara will have played three games the previous week at the NABC Classic in Albuquerque, N.M.

Stanford has never lost in the Pete Newell Challenge, having won six years in a row. New coach Trent Johnson was an assistant on Mike Montgomery's staff the first time Stanford appeared in the event, against Temple in 1998. Johnson was the head coach at Nevada the past five seasons. He guided the Wolf Pack to a 25-9 record in 2003-04, including upset victories over Michigan State and Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament, before losing to eventual national runner-up Georgia Tech, 72-67, in the Sweet 16.

Stanford is expected to be a strong contender for another Pac-10 championship this season, with three returning starters from a team that finished 30-2 overall (.938, best winning percentage in the country), 17-1 in the Pac-10 and was ranked No. 1 in the country. Stanford reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, before losing to Alabama, 70-67, in the Phoenix Regional.

All-Pac-10 point guard Chris Hernandez (10 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists), a 6-2 redshirt junior, will lead the Cardinal this season, along with 6-10, 260-pound senior center Rob Little (9.7 points, 5.5 rebounds) and 6-6 swingman Nick Robinson (6.1 points, 3.5 rebounds). Other key performers for Stanford include promising 6-10 junior forward Matt Haryasz (6.9 points, 4.1 rebounds), 6-6 junior Dan Grunfeld, 6-5 sophomore Fred Washington and 6-2 junior Jason Haas. Two freshmen could see playing time as well: 6-8 forward Taj Finger from Bedford, N.Y., and 6-10 center Peter Prowitt from McLean, Va.

Jesse Evans, a top assistant at Arizona when the Wildcats won the 1997 NCAA championship, takes over at USF after seven seasons as head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette. The Ragin' Cajuns won 20 games each of the past three years. They finished 20-9 in 2003-04, losing to North Carolina State, 61-52, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

USF returns three starters from a team that finished 17-14 last season (7-7 in the WCC). Six-foot senior point guard Andre Hazel (8.1 points, 4.7 assists) and 6-7, 220-pound senior forward Tyrone Riley (11.2 points, 7 rebounds) should be two of the best players in the conference this season. They will join another returning starter, 6-4 junior Jerome Gumbs, along with 6-4 senior Dommanic Ingerson (7.7 points) and 6-foot senior Jason Gaines. The Dons are also expecting a big lift from the return of 6-4 senior John Cox, a first-team all-WCC performer in 2002 who was injured last season.

Ingerson, who attended McClymonds High School in Oakland, transferred to USF from Michigan. The last time USF played in the Pete Newell Challenge, on Dec. 28, 2001, the Dons beat Michigan, 55-47. Ingerson was a reserve guard for the Wolverines that night. He will thus become the first player to play for two different schools in the Pete Newell Challenge. USF also played in the inaugural game of the Pete Newell Challenge, on Dec. 22, 1997, losing to Indiana, 65-52.

Tickets for the 2004 Pete Newell Challenge will go on sale Monday, Aug. 16, through all outlets in the Bay Area and at The Arena in Oakland box office. The Allstate Corp., the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer which provides insurance products to more than 16 million households, returns for its third consecutive year as presenting sponsor of the Pete Newell Challenge.

North Carolina Coach Roy Williams, in his second season since returning to his alma mater, will bring a national championship contender back to the Bay Area. The Tar Heels made their first appearance in the Pete Newell Challenge on Dec. 29, 1998, when they were ranked No. 9 in the country and coached by Bill Guthridge. North Carolina lost to Cal that night, 78-71, while Stanford beat Temple, 57-50, before a crowd of 19,657, the largest crowd ever to see a college basketball game in the state of California. That mark was broken two years later at the Pete Newell Challenge when 19,804 watched Stanford beat top-ranked Duke, 84-83, and Cal defeat Georgia, 85-64.

Williams is also making his second appearance at the Pete Newell Challenge. Two years ago, on Dec. 28, 2002, Williams guided Kansas to an 80-67 victory over Cal, the first time that a visiting school had ever beaten either Cal or Stanford in the event. One of college basketball's finest coaches, Williams is building a Hall of Fame resume, with an overall record of 437-112 (.795) after 16 seasons, including 15 at Kansas.

North Carolina returns its entire starting lineup from a team that finished 19-11 overall last season (8-8 in the Atlantic Coast Conference), and lost as a No. 6-seeded team in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to third-seeded Texas, 78-75, in the Atlanta Regional. ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale announced recently that North Carolina would be his preseason No. 1-ranked team in the country.The deep and talented Tar Heels will be led by a trio of junior standouts: 6-foot-4 All-America guard Rashad McCants, who averaged a team-high 20 points and connected on a team-high 78 three-point shots last season; 6-1 point guard Raymond Felton (11.5 points and a team-high 7.1 assists), and 6-9 center/forward Sean May (15.2 points, 9.8 rebounds). Other returning starters are 6-9 senior forward Jawad Williams (12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds) and 6-2 senior guard Melvin Scott (9.9 points, 3 rebounds, 2.7 assists). Two valuable reserves are also back: 6-5 senior swingman Jackie Manuel (6.5 points, 3.3 rebounds) and 6-6 junior forward David Noel (5.4 points, 4.9 rebounds).

In addition, North Carolina will unveil one of the nation's top freshmen in 6-9 forward Marvin Williams from Bremerton, Wash. The Pete Newell Challenge represents a homecoming for the Tar Heels' other touted freshman, 6-3 point guard Quentin Thomas (Oakland Tech High School), who will make his college debut in his hometown.

Santa Clara (16-16, 6-8 in the WCC) returns four starters from a team that narrowly lost to then-No. 4-ranked Gonzaga, 63-62, in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament. The Broncos are expected to be one of the best teams in the conference this season, led by the all-Alaskan backcourt of 6-2, 200-pound seniors Doron Perkins, last year's leading scorer and team most valuable player (13.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists), and veteran point guard Kyle Bailey (12.4, 4.7, 3.7).

The dynamic Perkins may be Santa Clara's best player since current NBA star point guard Steve Nash. A transfer from Southwestern Oregon Community College last season, Perkins exploded for 26 points and eight rebounds in the loss to Gonzaga. He was also Santa Clara's best defensive player, leading the team and ranking second in the WCC in steals. He had a career-high 27 points in a loss at Pepperdine.

Other returning starters for the Broncos include 6-7 junior forward Travis Niesen and 6-5 senior guard Ethan Rohde. Santa Clara also has high hopes for 6-11 Canadian sophomore center Sean Denison, who, like Nash, is from British Columbia. While playing recently for the Canadian Young Men's National Team at the Global Games in Dallas, Denison averaged 7.8 points per game (58% from the field). He is preparing to play for Team Canada in the Under 21 Tournament of the Americas, July 28-Aug. 1 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In just seven years, the Pete Newell Challenge has become one of the premier events in college basketball. The list of Pete Newell Challenge participants includes such top national programs as Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, Gonzaga, Saint Joseph's, Temple, Georgia, Brigham Young and Mississippi State.

Among the coaches who have brought teams to the Pete Newell Challenge are Hall of Famers Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Bob Knight (Indiana) and John Chaney (Temple), plus Mike Montgomery (Stanford), Roy Williams (Kansas), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Mark Few (Gonzaga), Phil Martelli (Saint Joseph's), Jim Harrick (Georgia), Tommy Amaker (Michigan), Rick Stansbury (Mississippi State) and Ben Braun (Cal).

The Pete Newell Challenge was created to honor the legendary Hall of Famer who won a coaching version of the Triple Crown--an NIT championship at USF (1949), an NCAA title at Cal (1959), and an Olympic gold medal for the United States (Rome, 1960).

Newell, who will turn 89 on Aug. 31, continues to work tirelessly teaching the game to young men and women through clinics and seminars around the world, and at his annual Pete Newell Big Man Camp. After 10 years in Honolulu, this year's camp returns to Las Vegas for the second year in a row. It will be held Aug. 2-6 at Cox Pavilion in the Thomas & Mack Center. This summer marks the 27th anniversary of the highly regarded camp, which will focus on college player development in two daily sessions.